Camp

PalomaS.

In a few weeks time, a small group of close friends and I will be heading to the glorious south of Perth for a weekend of camping. With it being winter, there will be thick cable knits and warm woollen scarves with a touch of cashmere to keep it soft, a mix between the cozy wraps to keep the chill away in the evening and a baker boy hat for morning trips into the woods (more like the lush wine regions of the south). Though the nights will be cold, it will be filled with gatherings around the fire as we share stories known to very few; and amongst all that, laughter will ring true as the flames dance in the winter night.

Daydreaming of the getaway aside, here are five things that belong on a winter camping trip:

parka

A parka to keep the warmth in and the rain out

CRbag

A carry-all for all your gear.

moka

A moka pot – an absolute essential

cableknit

Cable knit pull over for those chilly mornings

boots

And lastly, your most trusted pair of boots.

Hope you’ve had a lovely start to the week.

-T.

Top image from lookbook of Spanish brand Nice Things by Paloma S. (via Kittenhood)

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wanderlust: olso, norway

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It has almost been two years since my husband and I were in Norway for our honeymoon, but how amazing that trip was that almost everyday, something will come up and remind us of that glorious time. Though we spent most of our time in the capital, Oslo, we were able to be on the Norway in a Nutshell tour, which took us to the majestic fjords and allowed us to have a glimpse of the beautiful snow capped mountains.

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a view from The Thief hotel

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fresh berries from street vendors

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ice cream from Paradis

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macarons from Pascal

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coffee at Stockfleths

Is there somewhere that you dream about going back to? A magical place to where you’d love to be whisked away?

-T

Images: one | two | three | four | five | six | seven

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Other travel posts you may have missed:
huka lodge, new zealand
oheka castle, new york
white house, australia

Huka Lodge

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With spring well on it’s way to humble little Perth, these pictures of Huka Lodge, New Zealand make me want to be whisked away to a place where the grass is emerald green, the river runs deep blue and the radiant morning sun makes everything come to life. With it’s high ceilings, french doors and open spaces, Huka Lodge would be the perfect destination for a romantic getaway from the buzz of the city.

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Wouldn’t it be divine?

-The Fine Duchess

Images via Mr & Mrs Smith

Some links you may have missed:

Butterfly Effect – Jayne Dyer

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No, this is not the film. Hope I haven’t disappointed you. It is the title of the installation featured in Beijing’s Four Seasons hotel by Australian artist Jayne Dyer. Based on the Chinese Peacock butterfly, this spectacular artwork features four hundred polished and powder-coated stainless steel butterflies, soaring up the main atrium wall, reflecting beautiful natural light in every direction.

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I think I need an installation like this in my humble abode.

-The Fine Duchess

Images: 1 |

Gift Ideas for Mothers Day – Part 2

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Stuck for ideas? How about a fantastic meal at one of her favourite restaurants? If my family lived closer to Margaret River, I would be sure to treat my mum to a fantastic meal at Cape Lodge.

For more information on the amazing grounds of Cape Lodge, do have a look through their website to see what specials they have on offer. The short video below was put together by Tourism Western Australia and gives quite the insight on how the restaurant is run, showcasing the fine talents of Head Chef Tony Howell and his staff. Next time I head down to Margaret River, I know for sure where I’ll be feasting. Hmmm, perhaps I can even persuade the Duke to let us stay in the beautiful main lodge.

-The Fine Duchess

Video via Travelleto

Oheka Castle

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With the dark clouds hiding the sun in the morning sky and the heavy rains pelting at innocent bystanders (such as yours truly!), the grand Oheka Castle and its beautiful gardens might just be the perfect getaway, at least until the fierce weather dies down…

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In fact, the Oheka Castle was of partial inspiration for the Gatsby estate in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby , which happens to premiere very soon too. Wouldn’t it be simply spectacular to host a grand ball in this magnificent castle?

Hope you are having a splendid day.

-The Fine Duchess

Images: 1 Chaviano Couture | 2 De Ja Vu Studios | 3 4 5 6 Elliott Kaufman Photography

Margaret River Day 3

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After a flurry of activity to prepare our rooms for checkout, the Duke and I headed down to Morries Anytime for our 9.00am booking. Upon arriving, Morries was really packed with regulars as well as wanderers, such as ourselves, all eager for a good meal to begin a brand new day. Though the service was a bit lacking, it is completely understandable since they were truly busy; besides, the Duke and I were perfectly content as we were. On other times that I’ve been there, I know for sure that the service is more than outstanding. (Click here to see the review of Morries)

With our appetites satisfied, we decided that though we were heading home, we would pop into the galleries that were on the way. First up, was the Dilkes-Hoffman Gallery, set amongst the vast trees on the Leeuwin Naturaliste Ridge. After perusing the beautiful glazed ceramics featured in their showroom, we settled on two bottles (perfect for the Duke’s sake) and a small dish for me.

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Next stop: Boranup Gallery. I must say, I was very pleased that the Duke wanted to stop in here as there are so many pieces of artwork that I absolutely fell in love with…

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Title: Appreciation of All | Artist: Michael Commerford | Medium: Graphite, oils, woodstain on Gessoed canvas

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Title: Lavender in White Dish | Artist: Nellie Crawford | Medium: Oil on canvas

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Title: Reliant | Artist: Tamorin Lavers | Medium : Ink and water colour on paper

By the time we left the gallery, it was well after noon so we decided to begin our journey back to Perth. And so ends our wonderful getaway to the fine region of Margaret River.

-The Fine Duchess

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

Margaret River Day 2

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After a quick breakfast of croissants and coffee, the Duke and I headed out to the Margaret River Farmers’ Markets. Of all the fresh produce and gourmet cheese that was present there, this is what caught my attention:

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…a duck pumpkin?

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…not to mention the largest pumpkin I’ve ever seen! It’s almost as big as those young boys standing just behind it. Only in Margaret River…

The Duke also spotted some lovely handmade soaps (courtesy of the Margaret River Soap Factory) of which we bought three of: Rose Geranium with Pink Clay, Coconut & Vanilla, and Australian Bush.

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By the time we were finished looking through the stalls at the markets, it was almost lunchtime, se we headed out towards the wineries in search of some delicious morsels to satisfy our appetites.

Our first stop was the Duckstein Brewery, located on the Saracen Estate. Upon our arrival, we were apologetically told that there was a one hour wait before we could be seated. As much as we would have loved to stay, our empty stomachs beckoned and we moved on to Laurance Wines across the road.

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(My view of the vineyards through the Duke’s glass of shiraz)

Upon entering the estate, one can not help but be breathless as they look upon the vast estate. With a magnificent rose garden that boasts over 1 000 bushes, Laurance Wines was the perfect place for an peaceful lunch (for more details of our lunch, click here).

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After a filling lunch, we stopped by the Margaret River Chocolate Company to have a look at their produce . The Duke then suggested a special place he wanted to show me. And so we set off…

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..and found ourselves in a magical place where the trees continue on for hundreds and hundreds of meters.

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The Duke says that he so very much wants to bring me here in the winter time, when the lilies awaken from their slumber and cover the forest ground in their brilliance. Perhaps our next getaway is not so faraway after all.

The rest of the afternoon wasn’t all that eventful to be honest; returning to our rooms at the Margaret River Resort, we ordered some takeaway curry before settling in to watch Will Smith’s I, Robot.

Day 3 in Margaret River will be up shortly.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.

-The Fine Duchess

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 

Laurance Winery

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On a cloudy afternoon, the Duke and I had a quiet lunch at Laurance Wines amongst the backdrop of the beautiful vineyards. After a brief look over the menu, we settled on the Western Flavours Tasting Tray, which consisted of the following:

pork and veal meatballs | potato/venison chorizo taquitas | goats cheese rolled in candied walnuts | grilled garlic and thyme rubbed quail | caprese salad with prosciutto | cauliflower soup shots| locally baked bread | roquet and parmesan salad

Accompanying our light lunch was a glass of the Laurance of Margaret River Shiraz for the Duke and a glass of sparkling water for myself.

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The highlights of the dish were the quail (so succulent) and the cauliflower soup. The little parcels of potato/chorizo taquitas added a nice crunchy texture to the platter whilst the meatballs were unfortunately on the dry side. The duke quite liked the goats cheese but myself not so much – it wasn’t that it tasted bad; I’m just not as big of a fan of goats cheese as the Duke.

Overall, the lunch was pleasant and we left beautiful Laurance Winery feeling very content.

Laurance Winery on Urbanspoon

Gnarabar, Margaret River

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On the evening of our first day in Margaret River, we drove over to Gnarabar Bar and Bistro for a cosy dinner for two.

We started off with garlic & parmesan bread and a serve of seared scallops with cauliflower puree, pancetta, truffle oil and baby herbs. As delicious as our entrees were, we felt that the garlic bread lacked a bit of punch from both the garlic and parmesan aspect (though the bread was very fresh and soft in the right places), and the pancetta (panfried) was an unnecessary addition. The  scallops themselves were cooked to perfection and the cauliflower puree was simply divine.

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For mains, the Duke chose the porterhouse steak whilst I went with pan fried gnocchi. When the steak came out (along with the sides of steamed vegetables and shoestring fries), the Duke was blown away by the large portion size and was left feeling very full at the end of the meal.

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My plate of gnocchi was full of goodness, containing fondant leeks, cherry tomatoes, sweet peas, baby spinach, lemon and parmesan. The flavours were well balanced, from  the acidity of the lemon to the sweetness of the leeks. When the Duke had a taste, he commended them on the well thought out dish but had to say that the last gnocchi he had eaten (at Cantina 663) was just the slightest bit better. Nonetheless, I was very content with my meal and easily polished it off.

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With a wide array of items on the food and drinks menu and attentive staff, I would be delighted to have another chance to dine at the splendid Gnarabar Bar and Bistro.

-The Fine Duchess

Gnarabar Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon